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Preview: Marlins (61-83) at Mets (83-61)
Venue: Citi Field
Date: September 15, 2015 7:10 PM EDT
There’s been something about a change of scenery and playing in a playoff race that’s brought out the best in Yoenis Cespedes.
The slugging outfielder looks to keep leading the New York Mets’ postseason push as they go after their ninth consecutive win Tuesday night against the visiting Miami Marlins.
After batting .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs in 102 games with Detroit, Cespedes has performed at an MVP level since joining the then second-place Mets at the trade deadline. He’s hit .309 with 17 homers and 42 RBIs in 41 with New York, which is 30-11 since he arrived.
“It just seems like he rises to the occasion when you need him,” manager Terry Collins told MLB’s official website. “We’re fortunate that he’s here, and that we got him hot at the right time.”
Cespedes hit his ninth homer in 13 games this month, an estimated 442-foot shot and David Wright had a go-ahead double in the seventh inning of Monday’s series-opening 4-3 win that gave the Mets their longest winning streak since a season-high 11-game run in April. They own a 9 1/2-game division lead but remain in a tight fight with the Los Angeles Dodgers for home-field advantage in a potential NL division series matchup.
Cespedes is batting .362 with three homers and 10 RBIs over a 10-game hitting streak versus Miami (61-83) and he has a triple and two doubles in six at-bats against scheduled starter Tom Koehler.
After posting a 6.81 ERA during a seven-start losing streak, Koehler (9-13, 3.99 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.57 mark in two outings this month. The New York native gave up two runs and struck out a career high-tying 10 over eight innings in Wednesday’s 5-2 home win over Milwaukee.
“It’s felt like two seasons,” said Koehler after his first victory in eight starts. “Sometimes stuff like that happens. Hopefully we can start a reverse trend right now.”
The right-hander will face New York (83-61) for the second time this month. He overcame a season-high five walks and allowed two runs over six innings in a 6-5, 11-inning home win Sept. 4, but he’s 0-2 with a 6.27 ERA in six career starts at Citi Field.
Koehler will try to help the Marlins avoid their first three-game losing streak since a four-game skid from Aug. 21-24. Travis D’Arnaud, who homered Monday, is 4 for 5 with two doubles off him.
Wright has gone 9 for 23 in six home games since coming off the disabled list and he’s batting .409 with 11 RBIs in his last 11 there against the Marlins.
Jacob deGrom (13-7, 2.40) was tagged for a career-high seven runs over 2 2-3 innings in a 16-7 win at Philadelphia on Aug. 24, but is 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his other 10 starts since July 8.
The right-hander has been particularly good at home, going 6-3 with a 1.57 ERA in 13 starts. Only Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel have better home ERAs.
DeGrom also has had little trouble with the Marlins, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in six career starts while walking eight and striking out 46.
Dee Gordon, Derek Dietrich and J.T. Realmuto had two hits apiece in the opener, but the rest of the lineup went 0 for 20. Gordon is hitting .438 in his last 15 games versus New York, while Realmuto is batting .389 during a 10-game hitting streak.